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PRINCE2 is a process-based approach for project management providing an easily tailored and scaleable method for the management of all types of projects. The method is the de-facto standard for project management in the UK and is practiced worldwide.


What is PRINCE2?

Before we go into the specifics of PRINCE2, there are some general points about the subject of project management, which should help put everything into context...


Why project management is important

Whenever we decide we want to do something, go somewhere, build something, achieve something, we need to know the answer to some questions. What are we trying to do? When will we start? What do we need? Can we do it alone, or do we need help? How long will it take? How much will it cost? These are typical questions asked at the start of any project and the answers are the building blocks of project management - defining what we want to do and working out the best way we can do it.


Structured project management means managing the project in a logical, organised way, following defined steps. A structured project management method is the written description of this logical, organised approach. PRINCE2 is a structured project management method.


We have briefly covered what structured project management, and hence PRINCE2, are all about. Now for some more details about the PRINCE2 method.


Coverage of PRINCE2

PRINCE2 says that a project should have:


An organised and controlled start, ie organise and plan things properly before leaping in.

An organised and controlled middle, ie when the project has started, make sure it continues to be organised and controlled.

An organised and controlled end, ie when you’ve got what you want and the project has finished, tidy up the loose ends.

In order to describe what a project should do when, PRINCE2 has a series of processes which cover all the activities needed on a project from starting up to closing down.


Organising and controlling a project means that we need to have someone responsible for doing the organising and controlling - this person is called the Project Manager. The Project Manager will select people to do the work on the project and will be responsible for making sure the work is done properly and on-time. The Project Manager draws up the Project Plans that describe what the project team will actually be doing and when they expect to finish.




PRINCE, which stands for Projects in Controlled Environments, is a project management method covering the organisation, management and control of projects. PRINCE was first developed by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA, now part of the Office of Government Commerce) in 1989 as a UK Government standard for IT project management. Since its introduction, PRINCE has become widely used in both the public and private sectors and is now the UK’s de facto standard for generic project management, not just IT projects.


The latest version of the method, PRINCE2, was designed to incorporate the requirements of existing customers and to enhance the method to become a generic, best-practice approach for the management of all types of projects. The design and development work was undertaken by a consortium of project management specialists, and over 150 public and private sector organisations were involved in a Review Panel which provided valuable input and feedback to the consortium. The development work was completed in March 1996 and the PRINCE2 manual (“Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2”) is published by TSO.



PRINCE2 is a process-based approach for project management providing an easily tailored, and scaleable method for the management of all types of projects. Each process is defined with its key inputs and outputs together with the specific objectives to be achieved and activities to be carried out.


The method describes how a project is divided into manageable stages enabling efficient control of resources and regular progress monitoring throughout the project. The various roles and responsibilities for managing a project are fully described and are adaptable to suit the size and complexity of the project, and the skills of the organisation. Project planning using PRINCE2 is product-based which means the project plans are focused on delivering results and are not simply about planning when the various activities on the project will be done.

A PRINCE2 project is driven by the project’s business case which describes the organisation’s justification, commitment and rationale for the deliverables or outcome. The business case is regularly reviewed during the project to ensure the business objectives, which often change during the lifecycle of the project, are still being met.


There are different groups of people involved in projects: the customer, one or more suppliers, and of course the user. PRINCE2 is designed to provide a common language across all the interested parties involved in a project. Bringing customers and suppliers together typically involves contracts and contract management, although these aspects are outside the scope of PRINCE2, the method provides the necessary controls and breakpoints to work successfully within a contractual framework.





PRINCE2 is a structured method providing organisations with a standard approach to the management of projects. The method embodies proven and established best-practice in project management. It is widely recognised and understood, and so provides a common language for all participants in the project.


PRINCE2 provides benefits to the organisation, as well as the managers and directors of the project, through the controllable use of resources and the ability to manage business and project risk more effectively. PRINCE2 enables projects to have :


A controlled and organised start, middle and end;

Regular reviews of progress against plan and against the Business Case;

Flexible decision points;

Automatic management control of any deviations from the plan;

The involvement of management and stakeholders at the right time and place during the project;

Good communication channels between the project, project management, and the rest of the organisation.


Want to know more?

Contact Sjaak Hendriks via http://www.p2deliver.com , Projects2Deliver

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